Products As Representations: A Semiotic and Aesthetic Study of Design Products

Vihma, Susann

The representative function of design products has been studied very little because technical and ergonomic aspects have had priority in product development. When the representative ness of things has been studied. works of art have generally been dealt with. Typical everyday products have remained without attention. even though they also always represent something. Semioticians have developed analyses on representation. but they have usually examined products from the point of view of their cultural history. not front that of design. They have also studied the products as symbols and as language-like systems. However. with the approach developed by Charles. Peirce already at the end of the last century. a product can be interpreted in many different ways a> a sign. not merely as a symbol. Therefore Peirce's semiotics seem more suitable for the study of design products than other approaches do. The purpose of this study was to examine the representative function of design products and apply Peirce's semiotic approach. The objective of the analysis of product examples was to illustrate their function as signs.

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